IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Travel Health Journal

IAMAT medical directory

The Blue Booklet: Uniting doctors around the world

This article is part of our 55th Anniversary blog series. To learn more, visit our 55th Anniversary page.


In 1960, after treating a seriously ill Canadian traveller in Rome, Dr Vincenzo Marcolongo began to create a worldwide network of doctors committed to helping travellers. He coordinated English-speaking doctors who had been trained in North America and were practising in Europe and then assembled their contact information into a passport-sized booklet. The first IAMAT Medical Directory was born.

The first edition of the Medical Directory was just a few pages long, but quickly expanded to include physicians from major cities around the world. The Medical Directory was an innovation, uniting physicians to standardize care and raise physicians’ awareness of the unique medical issues that travellers face abroad.

The evolution of the IAMAT Medical Directory. From left to right: pre-1972, 1973, and 1982.
The evolution of the IAMAT Medical Directory. From left to right: pre-1972, 1973, and 1982.

The Medical Directory’s sky blue cover became a widely-recognized symbol among travellers since the 1960s. The cover of the “blue booklet” has changed little over the years and for many travellers who contact us, it’s one of the most recognizable symbols of IAMAT.

Today, the Medical Directory remains one of the pillars of our work because of its enormous impact on travellers. We maintain relationships with doctors and mental health professionals in over 90 countries, and we are always expanding our geographic coverage to ensure travellers have access to good medical care.

The Medical Directory and associated publications. From left to right: 1988, 1996, 2011, and 2015.
Later editions of the Medical Directory. From left to right: 1988, 1996, 2011, and 2015.

Visit our 55th Anniversary page for more articles celebrating milestones in our history, our work, and our relationships with doctors and travellers. Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Take an #IAMAT55 selfie with your membership card or medical directory
  • Share how IAMAT has made a difference in your travels
  • Tell a friend about IAMAT (tag us with #IAMAT55 on Facebook or Twitter!)
  • Shoot a 30-60 second video showcasing why you love to travel
  • Donate and give the gift of healthy travel

Travel Health Journal